Want to Cut Down on Water Use? Install a Urinal!

by Tim Fulton on September 14, 2008

Image: KC Star

Today, the Kansas City Star talks about something that’s been on my mind for years. A few years ago I visited the home of a friend of mine, as I had done on many other occasions. However, this time, when I asked to use the bathroom we were in a different part of the house and, accordingly, I used a different rest room.

Much to my chagrin, in the rest room I found a toilet and a urinal. Now, I knew this family was not particularly concerned about the environment. In fact, even though I knew the urinal would use less water, I assumed its installation was a fashion statement on the part of the reasonably weathly home owners.

To be honest, I didn’t quite get it. Being a man, I guess I associate urinals with the bathrooms in grocery stores and Tokyo subways, and never expected to see one in a clean, private environment. Nevertheless, from that point forward, I decided that my own home would have a urinal.

Of course, I completely forgot about all that until I saw this newspaper article. On a basic level, urinals use about 1/3rd of the water used by most new flush toilets. That’s a pretty significant difference. However, when there exist other options such as rainwater capture and greywater reuse, which can both be used to flush toilets, is a urinal really the best option?

Not only do urinals cost alot in plumbing, design, and initials purchase, but it’s not practical to add one to every restroom. Sure, I can walk down the hall to take a shower, but do you want to go up and down stairs or to the other side of the house just to save a gallon of water?

As far as convention goes, urinals are definitely less threatening than rain water recycling, but perhaps less ecofriendly. What do you think?

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Treehugger’s Guide to Greening the Bathroom | EcoRenovator.org
September 19, 2008 at 12:50 am


1 David H Glover September 15, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Pee in the toilet – don’t flush. Girls hate the idea of a urinal – I tried.

2 SustainableGuy November 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I pee in the sink. My wife does not approve, but it uses far less water to rinse the sink than any urinal. Many of my guy buddies tell me they do the same. It’s just easier and saves a lot of water.

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